The Business of Fashion Podcast
Three Designers In Search of Digital Beauty

Three Designers In Search of Digital Beauty

February 26, 2021

This week on The BoF Podcast, editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with Saul Nash, Stephen Jones and Roksanda Ilinčić about how to tell compelling fashion stories amid the pandemic.

Another season of mostly virtual fashion weeks have helped fashion films to become an increasingly popular tool for designers to create an elaborate narrative out of their collections off the catwalk. These new, online-first presentations have forced designers to think creatively and push storytelling further in order to emotionally connect with audiences.

But as with any emerging phenomenon, there’s still much to learn. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, designers Saul Nash, Stephen Jones and Roksanda Ilinčić, and BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks, delve into the dynamics of digital comunication and how to stand out with a meaningful story.

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How Virgil Abloh Is Lifting Up Fashion’s Next Generation of Creatives

How Virgil Abloh Is Lifting Up Fashion’s Next Generation of Creatives

February 23, 2021

The designer speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about his latest collection, making change and the importance of elevating the next generation of fashion creatives.

 

When Virgil Abloh first broke into fashion he remembers feeling like a tourist. The designer began his career in architecture and says he struggled to find his place in an industry of insiders. But after three years at the helm of Louis Vuitton’s menswear division, the Off-White founder is now very much part of the establishment. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, Abloh speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about his hopes of paving the way to a more democratic and inclusive industry for the younger generation and why he’s launched a TV station.

The designer is increasingly focused on lifting up the next generation of young designers, conscious of his responsibility to open up the industry. Last year, he raised $1 million to launch the “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund for Black students.

 

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The Future of New York Fashion Week

The Future of New York Fashion Week

February 19, 2021

This week on The BoF Podcast, designer Jason Wu and BoF’s senior correspondent Chantal Fernandez examine the evolving purpose of runway shows and what New York Fashion Week might look like after the pandemic.

Fashion Week looks very different this season, with most designers choosing to present their collections through digital lookbooks and short films instead of traditional runway shows. But even after the pandemic subsides, New York Fashion Week isn’t likely to revert to its prior form. As BoF senior correspondent Chantal Fernandez reported in a BoF Professional article last week, the “unbundling” of New York Fashion Week has been happening for years.

”What worked 10, 15 years ago, doesn’t work today,” designer Jason Wu told BoF’s Imran Amed on this week’s podcast. “The backbone of American fashion has always been about diversifying and being less traditional in its approach in what luxury and what fashion looks like.”

”Fashion week has become something of a different creature, but that happened long before the pandemic,” he added. “I feel like it’s my job to keep part of it alive, even though it’s forever changing.”

 

External clip courtesy of Fashion By Look - Eleanor Lambert: Defining Decades of Fashion

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How Independent Fashion Brands Are Navigating the Crisis

How Independent Fashion Brands Are Navigating the Crisis

February 16, 2021

BoF’s Imran Amed discusses transparency, cooperation and disruption with Dries Van Noten, Anya Hindmarch and Stefano Martinetto, leaders of two early pandemic initiatives — The Forum and Rewiring Fashion — to share thinking on the role of independent fashion brands and retailers amidst the biggest crisis in the history of the modern fashion industry.

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Racism and Inequality Are Stitched Into the Garments We Wear

Racism and Inequality Are Stitched Into the Garments We Wear

February 12, 2021

This week, Doug Stephens speaks with Kalkidan Legesse and Robert Hoppenheim about the imperative for fashion to take responsibility for the people it impacts.

 

The pandemic’s economic impact is radically changing the retail landscape, but for fashion, the fallout is not just financial. The crisis has amplified anger over racial injustice and financial inequality among consumers and employees, redoubling pressure on brands to adjust their operations to serve both shareholders and the greater good. Increasingly, companies must respond to demands for change from outside the boardroom.

In this week’s podcast, retail columnist Doug Stephens discusses how the fashion industry must address the systemic inequality and racism buried in its supply chain with the co-founder of UK-based ethical brand and retailer Sancho’s, Kalkidan Legesse, and the founder of brand strategy and communications advisory Kindustry, Robert Hoppenheim.

 

External clips courtesy of BBC, NBC Latino,  and CGTN. 

 

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Kim Jones on the Making of Air Dior

Kim Jones on the Making of Air Dior

February 9, 2021

The artistic director of Dior Men who is now also leading the women's collections at Fendi, speaks with BoF’s Imran Amed about the enduring power of youth and desire and the making of the Air Dior shoe.

Designer Kim Jones went from being a teenager with joint custody over one pair of on-sale Jordan 5s with three friends to creating one of the most sought after shoes in the world by bringing together three iconic brands: Nike, Jordan and Dior. To create the Dior X Air Jordan, which dropped mid-pandemic in June of 2020, he took the Jordan 1 silhouette, applied Dior’s leather and Italian techniques and infused it all with Michael Jordan’s personal cool-guy style.The much-hyped, $2,200 shoe sold out in minutes after being released online. Soon after, the shoes were spotted being resold for as much as $12,000 on StockX.In this conversation from VOICES 2020, Jones covers everything from ethical consumption to the enduring power of youth and desire.  

  • Young people influence the way Jones thinks about his designs. He invites his god children and children of friends over to watch them dissect his wardrobe, listening carefully to what they have to say. “Young people are learning they want to buy less, and things that last longer,” Jones said.
  • Buying vintage, handing things down through generations, and luxury all tie together for Jones. “The thing about luxury that I like is it’s clothes that are built to last and there’s not that many made of things,” he said. “I care about the world a lot so it’s something I do consider that there’s not much waste. We don’t have tons of stuff left over.”
  • The streetwear-meets-luxury space has exploded in the last few years. Jones sees it as a mix of comfort and easiness that fit in with modern daily life. His go-to is tailored pants and jackets with knitwear or a jersey piece. “When you’re working quite often, when it’s with your hands it’s easy,” he said.
  • He advises aspiring designers and other young creatives to think less about status and more about fulfilment. “Never think about the money, think about doing the job. Work hard,” he said. “Don’t think about social media, think about the actual reality. Just get on with it, and ask questions. I ask questions all the time and that’s why I’ve learned so much.”

     

 

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Dissecting the Rise, Fall and Future of Topshop

Dissecting the Rise, Fall and Future of Topshop

February 5, 2021

A new era for Topshop is about to begin. On Monday, digital fashion retailer Asos purchased the high-street label, along with sister brands Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, for £295 million ($403 million). The deal ended months of speculation about Topshop’s future after parent Arcadia Group fell into administration last November, as BoF senior editorial associate Tamison O’Connor reported in a BoF Professional article breaking down why Asos needs Topshop.

“It’s been very sad for me to see them go through what they’ve been through in the last few months,” retail veteran and former Topshop brand director Jane Shepherdson told BoF editor-in-chief Imran Amed on this week’s podcast.

Shepherdson discusses her time at Topshop when it was at the height of its success, the internal and external forces that caused the brand’s demise, before O’Connor weighs in on what the future might hold for the brand under Asos’ ownership.

  • Topshop’s decline was a long-time coming, Shepherdson said, reflecting on her time at the brand. She joined Arcadia as a young graduate and worked her way up the ranks as a buyer, spearheading Topshop’s transformation into a fashion destination. But she left the company in 2006 as Philip Green, who bought Arcadia Group in 2002, became more involved in the business. “He was an asset stripper, more than anything else. He bought businesses, and then sold them again,” she said. “My philosophy was that you would make sure that you designed and bought something that was so amazing that no one would be able to resist it.”

 

  • Asos’ ambition to capitalise on the newly acquired Arcadia brands and customer databases will depend on establishing a strong and independent identities for Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT on the Asos platform, O’Connor said.

 

  • O’Connor goes on to explain how the British high street’s transformation into a largely online market has been accelerated by the pandemic, having brought long-struggling British retailers like Debenhams and Arcadia Group to their knees.

     

 

Related Articles:

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How Fashion Can Leverage the Audio Appeal of Clubhouse

How Fashion Can Leverage the Audio Appeal of Clubhouse

February 2, 2021

At VOICES 2020. Paul Davison and Virgil Abloh discussed the audio-only social network’s potential impact in the fashion industry with BoF’s Imran Amed.

While the influence of Clubhouse has been growing in the power corridors of Silicon Valley for almost one year, the audio-only social network officially hit the mainstream this month, having grown to more than 2 million users and closed a funding round valuing the business at $1.4 billion. Then, on Monday, none other than Elon Musk made a surprise appearance on Clubhouse, driving global news coverage of his impromptu conversation with Robinhood’s co-founder, Vladimir Tenev, about the remarkable rise in value of Gamestop shares driven by passionate Reddit users.

But what could the rise of Clubhouse mean for fashion? In December, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer Paul Davison made his first public speaking appearance at BoF VOICES alongside Virgil Abloh to discuss the power of creating a space to listen and learn — and how the fashion industry can get involved.

“All the conversations that I’ve hosted or been a part of on Clubhouse related to fashion in a weird way have been more in-depth than interviews or regular-format media,” Abloh said. “It’s an interesting case study making sure brands have something to say when you can’t escape to creating an image.”

 

Related Articles:

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Alber Elbaz on Making His Return to Fashion

Alber Elbaz on Making His Return to Fashion

January 29, 2021

The celebrated designer talks to BoF’s Imran Amed about fashion’s new digital landscape and the launch of AZ Factory during Haute Couture Week.

The timing of Alber Elbaz’s return to fashion is apt. After a five-year hiatus following his departure from Lanvin in 2015, the designer debuted his new venture AZ Factory this week. The philosophy underpinning the label, a partnership with Richemont, is to tackle fashion’s challenges of excess, irrelevance and exclusivity with technology, focus and innovation.In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, editor-in-chief Imran Amed and Elbaz discuss how the designer fell back in love with fashion why it is necessary to slow the pace of the industry.
  • AZ Factory was born out of Elbaz’s disillusionment with the fashion world. His goal is to bring greater transparency to the design process and a more inclusive feel to customers. His first collection runs from size XS to XXXL. “We always have to remember again and again that this is 2021. How do women live, what do they need, how can I give them what they need?” said Elbaz. “It is taking all this information and processing it and then [giving my] take on it.”
  • The label made a digital debut at Paris couture week with a fashion film. Elbaz said the restrictions created by the pandemic were both a creative challenge and opportunity. “I cannot tell you that it was always easy” Elbaz said. “The night before we air[ed] the film I was still working in editing and looking and changing the music.”
  • One outcome of fashion’s current crisis that the designer is fully onboard with is the move towards a slower pace. Elbaz is increasingly focusing on new and innovative fabrics that require time to fully understand from a design perspective. “I cannot do it every couple of weeks so I know that I will have to keep [it to] two projects [at a time],” said Elbaz.
 

 

 

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Rick Owens on Drawing Inspiration From Imperfection

Rick Owens on Drawing Inspiration From Imperfection

January 26, 2021

The American designer speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about his latest collection, born from ‘anger and darkness,’ and why limitations often make way for creative ingenuity.

 

The location of Rick Owens latest show is a reflection of the ongoing sense of global loss as the death toll from Covid-19 continues to rise. The designer’s new men’s collection was presented at Tempio Votivo, a shrine to the fallen soldiers of the two world wars. The collection, Owens tells BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks, was born out of “anger and darkness,” despite a fresh sense of optimism brought about by Joe Biden’s recent inauguration.In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Owens and Blanks discuss the many references that informed the American designer’s new collection and why imperfection is central to his pursuit of creativity.
  • The show, although full of music and models, was without a live audience, a move that turned the presentation into “personal ritual,” Owens said. “We are doing it for ourselves… Some of the people [I’m working with] have been with me for 18 years. For us to be able to nurture and develop the collection to this point together, we’ve never fully done that before. It’s been this great bonding exercise.”
  • For Owens, lockdown life has not deviated far from his pre-pandemic routine. “I don’t participate or circulate in the world as much as most people do,” he said. But the social restrictions have reminded him that limitations can be central to creative ingenuity. “I like the idea of working within small boundaries,” he told Blanks. “I like the idea of doing the best with what you’ve got.”
  • References for Owens’ work include the Bible, the Rocky Horror Show and S&M, as well as his own imperfections and personal experience of manhood. “My men’s runway shows are always about men’s flaws, and about men’s worst urges because they’re autobiographical,” he said. “When I’m thinking about men, I’m thinking about my own experience. And my own experience is very critical.”
 
 
 
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